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It's Good To Be A Gooner!!!

Usually I prefer to draft my match reports the day after the game. A chance to take in the highlights and let any overzealous anger or subjective delight dissipate and allow objectivity to resonate. (In all honesty, I'm usually too knackered as well). But there are moments that football gives you that you want to squeeze and strangle the life out of them before they drift into memory. This is one such occasion where I feel that only by immortalising this feeling in print can I do this match justice.

My untroubled view from my season ticket seat

Before the game I had the unrivalled plesure of meeting Mr. Mustchin and Fat Old Dave (who isn't just blowing smoke with that log in name by the way. Only joking Dave, well, kind of) in the Herbert Chapman pub on Holloway Road. I cannot tell you how surreal it is to meet someone you speak to more than your own mother for the first time, having never clapped eyes on them. Anyways, the world was put to rights over a jar of Ireland's finest before heading to the game. The opening ten minutes belonged entirely to United in terms of possession. One could almost hear Ferguson's pre match teamtalk still ringing in their ears, Chelsea's demise twenty four hours previous giving them the early impetus. But Arsenal did not embelish their nerves for long and began to grow into the game. The first half was a cagey affair of few chances, punctuated by two world class Lehmann saves. The first from a brilliant dipping volley from Rooney, the second flinging himself to deny Larssons's header. It would prove to be pivotal.

The teams line up pre kick off

My feeling at half time was that this would be a game that would not open up. A point would not have been a bad result for United and I felt it would be a case of being clinical when a rare chance did come along. In short, I felt it was a first goal wins affair. So when Patrice Evra's brilliant run and cross was met with a firm Wayne Rooney header on the backpost, I could not see us getting back into the game. We appeared to go route one at that point, and I just could not see where an equaliser would come from. van Persie replaced the impressive Hleb, but took to the left wing. I complained that this was a bad decision, van Persie on the right cutting in on his left, Rosicky on the left cutting on his the right peg would reap richer rewards. How wrong I was!!! Arsenal created a golden chance as Adebayor met Eboue's cross with a soft header, but stretched an elastic limb and an almighty scramble ensued. The ball ricocheted every which way but goalwards and it looked as though the chance was gone.

The United end looking suitably threadbare seconds after the final whistle

But a miracle arose, like a great phoenix from the flames. A low cross from the right arrived at Henry with his back to goal. He attempted a flick I like to call 'the Kanu' which failed miserably or worked a treat depending on how you look at it. I half looked away, not seeing van Persie arrive on the back post to smash home from a tight angle. Ashburton Grove erupted in a bevy of noise and it looked as though the three points could be on. United settled in, happy with the point. In retrospect, Chelsea's defeat a day earlier really helped us here, United were content with the draw, thinking seven points to be an ample skism between themselves and the Lotto Chavs. Arsenal continued to press, as Fabregas played a neat one two with Eboue. Eboue's cross (an area of his game which was ripe for mockery months ago) was pinpoint and Henry planted a firm header past van der Sar. From where I was it looked a routine save for van der Sar, but I did not concern myself with that, electing instead to cavort senselessly, like a wasp at a picnic. By and large Henry had a quiet game, lacking sharpness in certain areas, but he made the difference when it counted. I'll let you in on a secret, in the San Siro three years ago, Henry's performance was terrible, in the Bernebeu he was virtually invisible for 89 and a half minutes, today he was average at best. But even in his quietest game, he has the quality to make the difference, that is an indication of his class.

Toby and Daryll in buoyant mood post match

The final whistle sounded and Cesc Fabregas leapt up and down like a lunatic down below me, as the Ashburton Grove crowd reciprocated. Fabregas grew into the game and I felt narrowly outstripped Carrick and Scholes, no mean feat. Overall, a draw would probably have been a fair reflection of the game. Neither side posed a sustained enough threat to win the match, neither side were bad enough to warrant losing it. Anyone who persists with doubting the potential of this team can look at how many times in the last fiteen years United have lead a game with seven minutes left and lost it. That requires a certain level of character that ordinary teams do not possess. We might have had an early penalty, Henry going down in the area. It looked to me that he knew what he was doing, but I would not call it an out and out dive, there is no rule saying the striker has to evade stray limbs. But I would have to see it again. I thought Clichy had an outstanding game, nullifying the threat of Rooney and Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo is a player I do not understand. When he takes the ball and runs full pelt at a defender, there are few more dangerous players in the world. But the constant use of impotent flicks and tricks does not impress me and I feel hinders his game. Watch him and you will see the stepovers and the flicks never beat players, it is his pace. Countless times Eboue and Clichy dispossessed him while he attempted a triple pike. Simplicity is genius, just have a look at Bergkamp, Pires, Scholes etc for relevant examples. Our defenders did a good job on Larsson while Rooney on the left did not appear to work.

A final amusing observation was van der Sar sprinting forty yards to the referee following Henry's winner to complain about our time wasting! His time eating at 0-1 was so blatant that I think the clock on my phone audibly yawned. Justice rarely comes more poetic when you consider that van der Sar and Evra's time wasting ultimately cost United sufficient time to mount an attack. This was a game that will live long in the memory, recollections of Platt's header, Barthez's blunders, Vieira's penalty were all bought to the fore. Monday morning? Bring it on! LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 21 2007

Time: 10:42PM

Your Comments

Where's the truth gone? I told him, never gloat before a game. It will always make you look stupid. Get in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Little Dutch
Since the truth didnt come here, i went a-looking for him. cant find him on the ManU site as well - surprise surprise :)
prits
yes and hatethegoons is quiet as well after parading all over the place predicting 4-2 to manu. where the bloody hell are ya?
mish
good game, glad you won. Had a chuckle when Lehmann took the mick out of Manu when he pretended to be injured after all the time wasting by the Manu players.
JohnDoe
Football really is the greatest game in the world...........Especially when you win! Im really starting to love the Grove now, the atmosphere was incredible today. I thought Clichy and Eboue did well on Ronaldo, Flamini had a steady game and Henry came up with his customary magic moment (which is why I believe him to be the best player in the world). Just gotta keep this run going and see where it takes us.
iceman10
he's crawled back under his little spud rock. no doubt delighted with his gobby prediction of a gooner demise. And i would like to say hi to hatethegoons, thank you. reading you comments makes victories like this all the sweeter. i respect manyoo, i have enormous animosity toward them at times. we have shared many great tussles in recent years. the spuds, on the other hand, con-*****in-tinue to come across like a bad cannon-and-ball routine. weather-worn, tired and embarrassingly unoriginal. oh, how i love their insightful wisdom. where next for them? who gives a rat's arse? another great result agauinst out supposed superiors, we yet again prove ourselves equals amongst the group who we would one day emulate with experience. The team comes of age. again. you win nothing with kids apparently. it would appear that you can win against manyoo though. not a bad start, in my book. »»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
YES! It's Fabsclicious to be a Gunner! "Never Beat The Gonners", sing it again baby!!!
SWPACIFIC
Shame about the injury to Van Persie though looks like he is gonna be out for some time as he has the same injury that Rooney had in the summer.
iceman10
Even if we'd lost today, it'd still be good to be a gooner, but we did'nt....... we won, oh and HTG?.... 12 points u scrawny, spoddy little Ethan
nikolaijns
Great game, and an apt headline for today :). Clearly encapsulates the feeling at the end of the 94th minute. I thought Henry had a good shout for a penalty turned down. Adebayor was fantastic - his work rate was tremendous and he was always chasing down balls. Eboue's cross was top class, explains a bit of why arsene let lauren go.
prits
4 highlights of the weekend. 1) Henrys last minute bullet header that saw of the mancs 2) Drogba's 'nuts' on Michael Ballack 3) Fatboy Robinsons pathetic attempt at a penalty save diving forwards into the mud like a pig in a bad mood 4) sp*rs celebrations after equalising, Chimbonda running into the corner and his mates on top of him all forgetting they were playing ten men and there was still time for a winner. Winners they are not!
iceman10
Good to meet you Tim, and after a horrifc start to the day (not meeting you) it ended with the worlds most outrageous 'bundle' that saw blood *****ing from my face!!! Excellent!!
Rocky7
Nice article....Man today was pretty close to perfect, if only RvP hadn't gone and damaged his lethal right peg! ....Ehm, or something like that..
CraigyD
"I have to see it again" sounds like you're ready for the touchline LD:)
G4L
guys can i just say one of the most pleasurable day to be a gooner,not just a pre john jensen fan but anynyoung guy or gal that likes football, imagine a pub or club,or house at the time when fat boy(the bloke from big brother)(oops maybe im wrong) scored, but i dont know bout you but i didnt get scared,i beleived,lol,what better way than to equalize,no,no not at all,but to shove the taunts of them mancs right up their jacksy(am i allowed say that)arsenal today has vindicated what wenger/rice/brady has always said football will always win out no matter what is it just me or do you want a game tomorrow night
carljames
LMAO Iceman!
G4L
lol yeh, those yid scum really are complete losers! ive never known such a disillusioned bunch of fans dreaming their team are so much better than they are. 12 points behind this team in 'decline' now. If were a team in decline, i hate to think what that bunch of sad pathetic mid table losers are.the icing on the cake will be to thrash them on weds, again. another 3-0 will be fine. beating the mancs, and watching the yid scum be even more pathetic than usual. it really is a great day to be a gooner! Bring on 3 point lane!
TheBeast
Van De Sar wastes time; Evra wastes time; time is added on; I score. BWAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Va va vooom!
Henry14
Add to my best moments Jens laying on the floor taking the p!ss out of the united timewasters after we scored the winner! The man is insane!
iceman10
Hope Eboue's performance can silence the doubters...He proved today that at his best he can be soild defensively and provide a more direct attacking outlet down the right than our other wide players...United cannot lose to us twice and expect to be champions...the gap is gonna close...but first lets crush the spuds
Anon 1
What can anyone say this team will grow and grow and grow and continue to squash bugs like the Yids, Tremble with fear the rest of world football, the goner ship has landed.How fantastic to be a gooner. Last week against Blackburn and now this week, and yes it was a clear penalty for Henry no doubt about it. Apart from one tiny slip Sando played well. What a team and Ces well this man is the greatest around. I cant go on they were truly mind-boggling.
alwaysgunner
will anyone dare to leave Emirates early now? i dun think so..
luckys_10
lolz iceman Jens is a legend..
luckys_10
"Van De Sar wastes time; Evra wastes time; time is added on; I score. BWAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Va va vooom!" - LOL...yeah, their ridiculous time wasting ultimately bit 'em in the ass, and it serves 'em right really. Lehmann's "injury" at the time damn near put me on the floor with laughter...nice send up.
Shinobi
you know it was brilliant yesterday, and the view from your upper tier seats look superb, front row huh ! you lucky ******** ! i am slightly behind you, on the west upper. we mixed our play, never gave up and wow to come back from 1-0 against united, we did to them what they have done to us many times... superb !
PUREGOLD
sickened - absolutely gutted. I can only think of 1 thing worse - the same thing happening on Wednesday.
Jacky B
I missed the first half - the Missus had me shopping in the moring and didn't get back until half time. Women... Anyway, went into the pub which I live over. I live in Clapham so you never know what fans are in it, plus it was packed. Anyway, when RvP scored the whole place erupted. Two Manc's looked shocked and I made another 20 new friends instantly. Pubs are great to watch football in, TH14 scored and suddenly we were all shouting, jumping and hugging complete strangers. What a game, what a great atmosphere, glad to hear The Grove with volume turned up and here's to the kids beating Sp*rs on Wednesday. The title say's it all, it is indeed "Good to be a Gooner!!"
michael105uk
Rocky- I did wonder how on earth someone managed to stand on your face during the celebrations?! A tumble down the aisles?
Little Dutch
You are right behind me (I'm lower tier). Whatever your view, that was beautiful.
hatespur
Celebrations saw everyone just throwing random people about, I was up in the air, on the floor, every where. But the blood came when we'd got back to the coach and mi mate John decided it was time for one last bundle!!! Cue shoulder to the nose!!!
Rocky7
Ouch! You may have noticed my cut lip, that was the result of fingernail to lip in a crowd surfing inceidenty on friday night. Oh and hatespur, that'll be my phlegm hitting your head when idiots like Bennett referee our games.
Little Dutch
ArsenalShorts (http://arsenalshorts.co.uk/) says (which is funny but I do agree the point he made for *****ing spuds):-

Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas were included in the UEFA team of the year yesterday. Henry has been chosen for the team five times in the last six years, and the only other English based player is Steven Gerrard... once again no Tottenham players were included in the side, in fact, there has only ever been one Spurs player selected, and that was back in 1751, when Spurs' Chumpley Tattershall was selected as coach, and that was because the person reading out the list was his Dad.
Barnet Gooner
You know its funny, Henry does nothing in the game until the 93rd minute yet you say he had a great game, Fabregas strings a few fancy passes together so you say he is one of the best midfielders in the world, Ronaldo hardly has a touch of the ball cause no one was passing to him yet you say Eboue and chlichy done a good job on him. Yes you did beat Man U, and yes you did play well, but you need to stop heaping so much praise on your players
OneAaronLennon
"Fabregas strings a few fancy passes together" Isn't that what the game is all about?? Maybe if a few of your players could string a few fancy passes together you might actually win some games, rather than serving up that dross at Fulham, which no-one other than a spurs or fulham fan would want to watch!!
Ashburton Gooner
Ronaldo is a midfielder, its his job to get the ball. That is what Cesc did, and if you read the article (a stretch for a Spud, I know) I say that Henry had an average game. Clichy was not beaten by Ronaldo once, not once, neither was Eboue.
Little Dutch
HHHMMMMMMMMMMMMM, I thought so
OneAaronLennon
Ashburton Gooner you idiot, wasn't it arsenal who went to craven cottage and got beaten 2-1.
OneAaronLennon
We heap too much praise on our team yet at the start of the season according to many on your site you were 2 players away from challenging for the title! you also call Huddlestone Hoddle-stone and Sing Englands Number 1 to Friar tuck Robinson when he has been awful all season but yeah we praise our players too much.
iceman10
You lot sing Adebayor's name like he's some God. You know as well as i do that he is a crap Kanu.
OneAaronLennon
he's better than Barbie-tov and can score away from home. Being a sp*rs fan what you fail to understand is you need all types of players to be succesful. You need your hard workers like Adebayor (who by the way is pretty skillful aswell) and Flamini, your Skill players like Henry and Fabregas, consistency like Toure and Gilberto. I dont expect you to understand why all these players need praising, because all you want to see is one trick ponies like Lennon and Ginola from 1 to 11 because you are the mighty sp*rs and have a tradition of playing stylishly since the 1700's. Shame we have also taken your tag as best footballing team aswell as stealing your crown as North Londons finest.
iceman10
If you seriously think that Adebayor is better than Berbatov then you have some serious problems with your head. What is Adebayor better than Berbatov at, goalscoring- NO, assists- NO, skill- NO, shooting- NO, first touch- NO, control- NO, passing- NO, heading- NO, link up play- NO. Think about it.
OneAaronLennon
and you say we praise our players too much. Do you know how stupid your original post looks now. Ask Rio Ferdinand who his hardest opponent has been this season, also ask John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. Berbatov has scored a few goals in the UEFA cup wow. He hasnt scored away from home wow. His performance against your biggest rivals was a disgrace wow. As I dont watch your poor team every week and you dont watch my better team we can only judge them against each other in the head to head games and Adebayor was FAR, FAR better when we battered you.
iceman10
And also you might want to check your stats properly before you heap praise on Barbie-tov.
iceman10
All that stuff you wrote is opinion not fact. The best judge of a player is his fellow pro's and facts. Adebayor beats Barbie on both counts.
iceman10
look at what stats, 11 goals - 8 assists, and its is first season in the premiership.
OneAaronLennon
Anyway like you said, you can only judge by head-to-head, and i can put my money on it that Berbatov will get atleast 1 goal against you over the two legs, guaranteed.
OneAaronLennon
now break those stats down to premiership and take out the two bob cups. You have heaped a lot of praise on a guy who cant score away from home. Henry scored 26 goals in his 1st season so those stats mean nothing to me.
iceman10
oneaaronlennon, really what are you doing here >? how would you know about tactics when you have to watch the jokes you watch week in week out... and should you beat us you beat our reserves, not much really to shout about, and then lose to chelsea in the final... oh yeah, go go spuddies.. great season to get to a minor cup final... and the last time i checked, 12 pts behind us, yes after last season and your promises to break the top 4 mould, you are doing a sterling job, now eff off back to your crapola little club and fanzine site.
PUREGOLD
if you seriously think berba***** is better than adebayor, then you are truly a spud. don't know a good player when you see one. As a gooner, i get to see lots of them, and they play in red and white. Adebayor runs and battles and fights and chases. Everything that berba***** doesnt. Even my spud mates agree with that, that he just doesnt have the desire and passion to do that. He's Anelka minus the talent. Oh, and Ade isnt found wanting for good link up play or important goals either. »»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
* berbat0ss
Wingston75
so how many times has barbiedoll scored a winner away from home? i think you need to open your eyes as to what adebayor gives to the team,18 starts 9 subs and 7 goals 3 assists,and he isnt our first choice striker he is our 3rd choice,lets have a look at your 3rd choice striker oh btw he is only 22 years old
fran merida
PUREGOLD, making excuses already are we!!, you didnt see me moaning about all your controversial goals on here when you beat us at the Emirates. Face it, you know that we are going to beat you on our own turf on wednesday.
OneAaronLennon
I'll break it down for you cause i know you need it!! 15 starts 6 goals 5 assists. The only reason why arsenal fans rate Adebayor is because of his work rate. I'll tell you something, work rate does not make a good player.
OneAaronLennon
OneAaronlemon...instead of worrying about our forwards why don't you consider this stat...you are closer to wigan who are 17th than you are to us..now run along back to your spud fansite to discuss it and your biggest game in a decade
Anon 1
because he was our third choice striker who had a good attitude and workrate which resulted in important goals,one against the mancs and another against your lot,scored the winner against wigan away and got us back in against pompey
fran merida
Great win, no doubt. Only 12 back. You're almost close enough for MU to hear you say Congratulations Sir Alex.
greatwhitenorf
It was a great match that I thoroughly enjoyed. Two hands up for Clichy and Fabregas, but of course, everyone was fan-crazy-tastic!
ducksworth
Isn't that finny GWN, that's exactly how far away you are from us! I thought you boys were the new power in North London, you were rising stock and we were the falling star? What say you? As for one AaronLennon, if you're comparing your players to ours, you really are in trouble!
Little Dutch
now break it down into away games oneaaronlennon.
iceman10
Also tell me how many goals he has scored against the current top 10. Im sure once you do that you will go away.
iceman10
OneAaronLennon, or should I just call you poor mans ronaldo?? Where did I say arsenal did win at Fulham?? However even in a game we quite rightly lost we still gave entertainment, whereas you played against 10 men & couldn't win. How did you get on against Everton who had 10 men for over an hour?? How you done against man utd & liverpool this season?? When was the last time you got a result at chelski?? Please don't come to this site with such pathetic arguments which make you look such a d**k!! As for the league cup who really cares?? Of course you lot do because its the only trophy big clubs don't care about so therefore one that the spuds actually stand a chance of winning. Whats it like being a mid table bunch of no hopers & knowing fully well that west ham are soon going to be overtaking you & being more worthy opponents to us & chelski. All you lot do is talk big but have nothing to back it up, like the fact you spent over 20 million in the summer & went backwards!!
Ashburton Gooner
 

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